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Check out what’s new at the library.
I used to work in a position where I would do story time with preschool-age kids. The thing I miss most about that is that I don’t have so great an opportunity to read cute little picture books anymore. This book features a little fish who has stolen a hat from a big fish and now he’s on the run, though he doesn’t believe he’ll ever be caught. The book is ideal for teaching kids that stealing is wrong and the ambiguity of the ending allows for good interaction with kids: Ask what they think happened to the little fish. The artwork and words are very simple, yet the eyes of the various characters express quite a lot, more than one would expect from just a white circle and a black circle. I loved this book, and if I were still doing story time, I would definitely make it part of my repertoire.
Review by Jessica A.
Looking for something to read over your long weekend, but the library is closed (We’re open on Friday and Saturday from 10-3, closed Sunday and Monday)? Hoopla has you covered! Check out a short audiobook to read on your phone in an afternoon as you enjoy the late Spring sunshine.
An Elderly Lady Is Up To No Good/ Helene Tursten
read by Suzanne Toren
Maud is an irascible eighty-eight-year-old Swedish woman with no family, no friends, and . . . no qualms about a little murder. This funny, irreverent story collection by Helene Tursten, author of the Irene Huss Investigation series, features two-never-before translated stories that will keep you laughing all the way to the retirement home.
Ever since her darling father’s untimely death when she was only eighteen, Maud has lived in the family’s spacious apartment in downtown Gothenburg rent-free, thanks to a minor clause in a hastily negotiated contract. That was how Maud learned that good things can come from tragedy. Now in her late eighties, Maud contents herself with traveling the world and surfing the net from the comfort of her father’s ancient armchair. It’s a solitary existence, and she likes it that way.
Over the course of her adventures-or misadventures-this little bold lady will handle a crisis with a local celebrity who has her eyes on Maud’s apartment, foil the engagement of her long-ago lover, and dispose of some pesky neighbors. But when the local authorities are called to investigate a dead body found in Maud’s apartment, will Maud finally become a suspect?
This restorative memoir reflects on the personalities and quirks of thirteen animals-Sy’s friends-and the truths revealed by their grace. It also explores vast themes: the otherness and sameness of people and animals; the various ways we learn to love and become empathetic; how we find our passion; how we create our families; coping with loss and despair; gratitude; forgiveness; and most of all, how to be a good creature in the world.
It is 2005 and polar opposite high school students Morton Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Greg Jenko (Channing Tatum) find themselves not going to a high school dance for different reasons. Schmidt is scholarly, but socially awkward and can’t ask out girls. Jenko is the stereotypical popular dumb jock who is suspended due to poor grades. They do NOT get along well in school! Years later they meet in police academy. Jenko excels at the physical part of the training while Schmidt continues to do well at the mental part of the training. They find themselves friends at the end of the training because they rely on each other, in part, to finish.
Once out, they are dismayed to find themselves as bicycle cops having to be security for a local park. On routine patrol, they attempt to arrest several members of a motorcycle gang doing drugs. However, the arrest isn’t successful because Jenko fails to read Domingo, the group’s leader, his Miranda rights. Their supervisor, Chief Hardy (Nick Offerman) has them assigned to an undercover police agency that sends young appearing officers into schools. The group is led by an abrasive Captain Dickson (Ice Cube) who is trying to stop the spread of drugs at a local high school. Dickson assigns the young officers new identities that align with their personalities and strengths.
Jenko and Schmidt will have to live in Schmidt’s childhood home while pretending to be in high school. In order to look “cool”, the duo find themselves in the principal’s office for an altercation on their first day. An exasperated principal warns the two that if they find themselves in his office again, they will be suspended. Upon asking them their names, the two accidentally swap their bios. So now, Jenko finds himself taking AP courses, band etc., while Schmidt ends up taking the easier laid-back courses and finds himself in track.
While investigating the drug problem and source at the school, Jenko finds himself enjoying the “nerdier” classes and Schmidt enjoys the more “popular” student life. He even falls for one of the young students Molly (Brie Larson). Unfortunately for Schmidt, his new found friends are involved in the very drug problem they are investigating. The students are also in danger trying to sell their product to a more criminal element. Conflict arises between Jenko and Schmidt throughout when they are finding themselves in opposite social circles, yet again, just like they were in high school.
The duo must be able to work together to keep the dangerous drug problem from spreading while keeping the very students that are involved safe from themselves and others.
This movie was based, on a television show from the late 80’s-early 90’s. (So, that was fun!) In fact, most of the original cast members made cameos throughout the movie. (Including Johnny Depp, Peter DeLuise, and Holly Robinson Peete). Supporting actors Dave Franco, Rob Riggle, and others made the movie FUNNY! The humor was a bit sophomoric and slapstick but it worked well in this movie. The movie was a bit predictable but enjoyable for teen audiences on up. A fun “buddy”/”bromance” film for sure.
Directed by Phil Lord & Christopher Miller
Starring: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Ice Cube, Brie Larson, Dave Franco, Nick Offerman, Rob Riggle, Johnny Depp, Peter DeLuise, Holly Robinson Peete
Reviewed by Julie C.
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This is a book about painting in the late 19th century, but mostly about the color blue. Blue pigment made from ultramarine was worth more than gold at one point. At the start of the book, Van Gogh dies and this news sends his friends and fellow painters in Paris into a great tumult. Two such painters, Lucien Lessard and Henri Toulouse-Lautrec decide to do a bit of investigating and learn about the connection of strange women and the color blue to several painters, themselves included. Painters lose time and occasionally paintings, though alcohol was not involved. The story takes us not only to the present (of the 1890s) but back to the previous generation of painters and even further back to painters in the Renaissance and more.
This Christopher Moore book certainly does not disappoint. It has all the traits of his previous novels: humor, history, and heart. Part of the main reason I started reading Christopher Moore was because the books were funny. They’re wacky, and quirky, and other words not ending in “ky.” I have to try not to laugh at loud while I’m reading in public. The best is that he manages to find the humor in the historical setting. Some of the jokes are anachronistic, but that’s sort of a wink to the reader and perfectly acceptable.
The historical setting is Paris (for the most part) in the late 1800s during the time of the Impressionist painters and their followers. Henri Toulouse-Lautrec is a major character and many other painters of the time also appear throughout the story. I took a couple art history classes in college where I majored in history, so I very much appreciate the accuracy of the portrayal of the time and the people. I’m not sure what it is, but Toulouse seems to steal the show in each of his scenes (and this is not exclusive to this book, because it’s true of other portrayals of him in other stories and films), something I’m sure he would be delighted to know. In any case, it’s obvious that Moore did a lot of research into his subject. The book has images of the relevant paintings throughout, which lends a sense of reality to the story: these are actual people who lived during that time. I particularly appreciate that the author provided a chapter guide available on his website for an extra bit of the history involved as well as more pictures.
The characters in this book grab the reader’s attention and affection easily. That’s the beauty of Christopher Moore’s writing style–he brings characters, both historical and fictitious, to life. We understand fully why Jane Avril pats a very drunk Henri on the head to say good-bye after leaving him in Lucien’s care, wanting to give him a little pat or a hug ourselves because by this point in the book we have grown to love Henri.
I loved this book. I highly recommend it to any fan of Christopher Moore of course, but also to those who enjoy humorous fiction (and aren’t offended by the occasional dirty joke). This book is sure to make anyone laugh and perhaps even appreciate the art and artists of the late 19th century just a bit better.
Review by Jessica A.